LaCroix gives State of the District address
By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – On Monday, Sept. 30, Howard-Suamico School District Superintendent Damian LaCroix updated district stakeholders during his annual State of the District address.
Along with educating students, LaCroix said the district has a role to instill positive moral character, with the help of other groups.
“If there’s anything I want us to be, is to be a morally reputable school district,” he said.
LaCroix compared moral character to the four legs of a chair, each leg has a job to instill the trait in young people.
The legs, according to the superintendent, are family, the church, civic organizations and public education.
“I think what we’ve done a little bit is we shifted a lot of the responsibility of being good on public education, and this is a shaky base,” he said. “It was never intended to hold up the good of American society.”
LaCroix highlighted the achievement of students he feels who exhibit strong moral character.
“Where do you learn to be good?” LaCroix said. “It’s more than two-by-four learning, the four walls of the classroom and the two covers of the book.”
He went on to say it’s educators, administrators and the community who instill moral character in all students.
“We can’t do it alone,” LaCroix said. “We can’t stay on this one leg. We need those other entities giving us a firm foundation.”
He said strong test results and a renewed drive to help families in poverty make the district strong, which in turn helps the villages of Howard and Suamico.
“You’re not going to have a great community without great schools, and you’re not going to have great schools without a great community,” LaCroix said. “They’re mutually exclusive.”
He also updated the 50 people in attendance on the district’s graduate profile, how curriculum will be tailored to create desirable career traits like being a solutionist and collaborator for students throughout K-12 in the district.
“Change is going to happen, the question is are we going to respond to change as it happens to us? Or are we going to be change agents as it happens to the district?” LaCroix said.
Part of that change is a partnership the district is working on with Microsoft, the details of which LaCroix said will be released at a later date.
“I’ve got hope as we look to the future,” he said. “Somebody once said when there is hope in the future, there’s power in the present… I hope I’ve given you reason to be hopeful, too, because that’s our job. We are brokers of hope.”
2019-20 tax levy
Coming off a motion from former school board member Lisa Botsford, the public backed a school levy of $27.25 million.
This is an increase of $1.6 million from last year’s levy of $25.65 million.
Vanessa Moran, school board treasurer, said the tax rate will be set by the board later this month, but it will remain at $9.19 per $1,000 of equalized value for the fifth year in a row.
This comes on the heels of the state approving an increase in per student funding of $400, up to $9,700.
Moran said any questions to the board regarding the budget are welcome.
“As we look ahead to that new direction, we as a board and administration team are committed to providing open and honest communication,” she said.